Let’s get off english, once in a while

On the event of the Tamil New Year day which fell on 14th April , I sent sms messages to my near and dear ones wishing them a new year using tamil words in english script. It read “Iniya tamizh puthandu vazthukal. anbudan Badri” meaning “Greetings on the occassion of the tamil new year. With love Badri”

I received many responses of the type “Wish you the same” or variants like “Thanks. same to you”  or “Wishing you a very happy new year”.  Strangely enough, it did not strike those people that they could have typed “nanri” (meaning thank you) in response to a greeting in tamil for the tamil new year day.

I know for sure that it was not intentional but was a reflex or reaction to the greetings that I had sent.  This only goes to show how anglicized we have become in our thinking and in our conversation.  Nothing wrong about it except that the rich tamil language has become a casualty.

My children have taken tamil at school as the second language (in contrast to many kids who speak tamil at home but have taken hindi at school) yet struggle to read tamil aloud from a magazine or a book.  People of my age and generation used to read a lot of tamil literature, comics, magazines and fiction but i can see it in my own eyes that it is dying.  The conversations at home are held in thanglish (a mixture of tamil and english) with english being more predominant.

I shudder to think of the kids who would come to school in 10 to 15 years from now!!

I appeal to parents to speak more of their mother tongue at home and especially with the kids and encourage them to read the vernacular regularly even if it is for 10 minutes a day.


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